After taking Amtrak from Memphis to Spokane, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport. ACL had a special rate which included the transfer to Clarkston, WA to board the Queen of the West. The drive to the port was so lovely, driving through "dune-like" wheat fields. We boarded and after a lovely lunch started cruising the Columbia River.
I loved my spacious stateroom which had the feeling of a bedroom complete with comfy bedding. The bathroom is roomy and I enjoyed all the storage space including a closet. I was impressed with housekeeping. My room was always kept very neat and clean. The toiletry items were always replaced without asking. I have to say that the boat is kept immaculate.
Dining service was impeccable and the menu was adapted to the itinerary. The salmon was delicious. I like mine well-done and it was always served the way I liked it. I like a lot of vegetables which I got. In fact all the items were wonderful. One thing I liked was the fact that I could have half-portions when desired. I couldn't stay away from the desserts. Unfortunately, I put back the weight I lost before I went on the cruise. There were fitness machines on the top deck. I should have taken advantage of them.
The hotel staff was great. Questions were always answered promptly. This included the captain who was so friendly and accessible to passengers when the boat was not underway.
The cruise director and lecturer must be commended. Chris, the cruise director played a great game of bingo as well as making fun during other varied activities. Wish he could have sung for us. He has a broadway-style voice. Todd, the lecturer was unbelievable. Each day, he took us from the beginning of the Lewis & Clark journey to the end...often in costume. I'm planning on going to Alaska on ACL's American Spirit next year. He said he may be there as a lecturer.
I enjoyed the banjo player who performed one evening. He reminded me of Eddie Peabody. The audience loved his talent.
What a fantastic itinerary. The scenery is absolutely beautiful...from forests to desert to gorges of rock. Tours were well planned. Unfortunately, Mt St Helens was snow-bound so we couldn't get to the visitor's center but it still was a wonderful tour. A real highlight was coming into Portland on the Willamette River, turning my head left to right...I saw 4 snow-covered mountains...Mt Adams, Mt Hood, Mt Ranier and Mt St Helens.
When we got to Portland, someone was playing the calliope. It's always a joy to hear it.
I definitely want to take this cruise again...maybe in reverse such as Portland to Clarkston.
I guess the review is supposed to include pros and cons but I can't think of any negative comments to make. The cruise was beautiful, relaxing and fun.